Topaz a.k.a. Creature
Breed: Overgrown Rat Terrier mix
Topaz gives new meaning to the word enthusiasm. Her favorite activities are sniffing; running after mountain bikes; running after marmots, squirrels, other dogs, etc.; and taking long hikes—preferably ones that end near a body of water. She also occasionally feels the need to do psychotic burnouts in the dog park when her excitement is too great to contain.
—Axie Navas, Assistant Online Editor, and Scott Rosenfield, Associate Online Managing Editor
Biscuit a.k.a. Busy
Breed: Red Australian Shepherd
Busy joined our family through an adoption process that seemed almost as rigorous as adopting a human baby. He arrived with a strange diet: banana with cottage cheese, olive oil, and kibble for breakfast; a can of French-cut, no-salt beans, with a side of organic-trout kibble, for dinner. (It’s only a little weird to load a shopping cart with said beans once a month at Wal-Mart.) Busy’s hobbies include barking at real or imagined wildlife and at the dryer, stalking my daughter in case she drops food, and singing “Happy Birthday.”
—Hannah McCaughey, Design & Photography Director
Age: 10 months
Breed: Wheaten Terrier
Tuco (not named for the brilliantly menacing drug dealer in Breaking Bad) was born in Colorado, but has since brought his talents to New Mexico. An expert sitter and even better shaker, Tuco’s obedience unfortunately tops out with those two commands. Playful to a fault, he’s never seen a couch he couldn’t jump on or a bed that didn’t look more comfortable than his. Our first dog, our first best friend, and our never-ending source of laughter.
—Nick Kelley, Online Editorial Assistant, and Madeline Brenneman, Outside GO
Breed: Australian Shepherd and Lab
Yogi loves raw green tripe, agility, garbage, and me (in that order). He hates cats and toddlers. His hometown is Little Rock, Arkansas, but only traces of his southern accent remain. He has sectoral hypochromia, which means he has Kate Bosworth eyes. When people ask, “What breed is he?” I usually make up something; today it was “Appalachian Trout Hound.”
—Todd Hodgson, Site Director, Outside Online
Breed: English Setter
Commands: “sit” (sometimes), “stay” (rarely), and “come” (when convenient). Specialties: hearing the cheese-drawer open, pouncing on my wife when she’s sleeping, peeing at friends’ homes, cuddling. Fears: whistles, the sound of shoes on a gym floor, fireworks, the wind. Biggest crush: Cooper.
—Jonah Ogles, Associate Editor
Breed: UK Labrador
Cooper goes absolutely everywhere with me—whether I’m hunting, fishing, biking, skiing, or traveling for TV interviews and photo shoots. Not sure what I’d do without him: he has to live forever.
—Grayson Schaffer, Senior Editor
Kenya and Cash
Breed: German Shepherd
Kenya is the chief security officer at our house. She takes her duties very seriously, continually executing surveillance-reconnaissance missions. Despite her best efforts to be perceived as “all business,” she can be a big softie, enjoying some snuggle time with her humans for five whole minutes every day. When off duty, Kenya enjoys playing intense games of fetch, digging, and taking dips in the koi pond.
Breed: Australian Shepherd
Cash is a true Aussie through and through (which means she’s a spaz with endless amounts of energy, and can out-hike and out-run you any day of the week). A perpetual goofball, she’s always up for exploring new trails or crags. The character we take on when we give her a voice is Milton from Office Space (“Um, excuse me, I specifically said no dog food for dinner, but I only see two steaks on the counter…”).
—Julia Amirzadov, Senior Designer
Samson and Marco Polo
Breed: Rhodesian Ridgeback
As a pup, Sam was more interested in exploring than in eating. That changed when he arrived in New Mexico, where he grew to 115 athletic pounds and subsequently found his true calling: chasing elk, coyotes, bobcats, and anything else he deems worth his time. Sam watches other dogs with a certain aloofness, as if contemplating whether he considers himself to be of the same species. He’s much too confident to need or want koochie-koos, but will tolerate a big hug if there’s a slice of cheese at stake. Sam knows friend from foe, and he knows the ranch rules. I think he’d rather burn in hell than disappoint his humans. He’s the best friend I could have.
Breed: Queensland Heeler–American Labrador
The first time I saw Polo, he was clinging to a steep wall in a fast-moving arroyo during a major storm. When he saw my car, he let go and swam to me. I thought he would go on his way, but he followed me for six miles and is now part of the family. Today, Polo shares work duty with his adopted brother, Sam, who has graciously allowed Polo into his space and taught him the rules of the ranch (e.g., snacking on “horse steamers”). Polo’s speed and agility leave your chin on your chest (his double McTwist is Olympian). Every day, “Little Boy” brings us joy.
—Larry Burke, Chairman and Editor in Chief
Breed: Terrier mix
Claudia was born in Kansas City before settling into her New Mexico “forever” home. Her favorite things: standoffs, wrestling, biting through the blankets when I’m trying to make the bed, chasing quail, hiking, bossing bigger dogs at the park, chewing bully sticks, and eating chicken backs.
—Sara Bielecki, Assistant Photography Editor
I wasn’t looking to add to our motley crew of aging animals—until I locked eyes with Winston Churchill at a pet-adoption event in Santa Fe. The languid Basset cross, with his pity-me stare, droopy ears, and funny, wrong-way-round front legs, had me at hello. A family vote and a few minutes later, off we went with our new pup. A leather sofa, a leather ottoman, and numerous shoes later, Winston finally stopped chewing. Caging him was not an option, nor was leaving him at home (he would howl like a baby hyena), so we learned to take him everywhere with us.
—Sandy and Chip Cunningham, Outside GO
Breed: Beagle–Jack Russell mix
I was traveling through Asheville, North Carolina, for a wedding. The hotel I was staying at was having a surreal pet adoption/fashion show in the lobby. I saw Dolly among the dogs that were wearing blinged-out vests and hats, waiting to strut their stuff on the runway. Dolly was only concerned with a roll that had fallen behind a food table. The next day, I went to the shelter and adopted her.
—John McCauley, Art Director
Breed: Pure New Mexican (probably some Collie and Shepherd; don’t really know)
We got Emmie from the Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary. Her mother was dumped there while pregnant, and we knew from the second we saw her that she was part of the family. Emmie has been my friend and companion ever since. We get together with our friends (both human and canine) every Sunday to play disc golf. A more true and loyal friend you will never find!
—Juan Bernardez, Director of Information Technology
Aspen and Sierra
Age: Both 14
Breed: Border Collie and Lab mix
The lasses were rescued from a dumpster as puppies. Aspen (left) faithfully upholds the Border Collie imperative to direct traffic, while Sierra is willing and wanting to cuddle everything in sight. Aspen will play ball for hours; Sierra will flatter you, hoping to score extra treats and eats.
—Nicole Fernandez, Outside GO
Magnolia a.k.a. Nolie
Breed: English Labrador retriever
Likes long walks in prairie grass or quietly sitting beside a cattail-filled slough, with occasional forays to retrieve a downed pheasant or duck. Favorite trick? Army crawl. (Good for getting under barbed-wire fences.) She also likes “kisses,” and never, ever sleeps on the bed.
—Ryan Krogh, Associate Editor
Breed: RotyShepCattleChow, a.k.a. Rez Special
From: I-25, New Mexico.
Goes by: Mins, Lil’ Mins, Minners, Minoozers, Noozers, Nooze, Noozy
Education: Santa Fe Obedience School (flunked out)
Occupation: Home security guard
Number of times struck by a speeding snowmobile: 1
Number of times skunked: 1
Hobbies: sleeping, eating, barking, staring out the window looking for cats
Favorite animal: cat
Most-despised creature on Earth: cat
If I could be any creature other than a dog, I would be a: cat—just so I could better understand the psychotic dementia they experience every day
—Nick Heil, Online Editorial Director
Breed: Afghan Hound
Mimi came to us as a breeder-owner surrender from California. She’s a champion pedigree that will never see the show ring. She’s a sweet-natured, smart companion. In Afghanistan, these dogs work, herding, guarding, and hunting in packs. They’ll hunt deer, wild goats, snow leopards, and wolves. Mimi lives with us in Santa Fe with our other two dogs, Joe (another Afghan) and Mona, our Golden Retriever.
—Angelo Gaziano, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Mud and Lucy
Age: 4 months
Breed: Miniature Aussie
Mud was quiet and mellow when we got him, but he’s now realizing that the world isn’t such a scary place after all. He likes training and making pig noises when happy. Recent discoveries: coprophagia (eating poop), digging holes, cleaning empty beer cans.
When Lucy first came home from the pound in Truckee, California, she looked like a sausage with four toothpick legs—chunky. Now, with two partially torn ACLs from charging so hard, she has no interest in slowing down. She’s still running happily most days of the week. Pet peeves: puppies, rambunctious dogs, not being allowed on the bed.
—Kyle Dickman, former Associate Editor
Breed: Mexican Street Dog
Wiley’s a mutt, rescued from the crags of Potrero Chico, Mexico. The hardened, ornery edge from years as a scrappy survivor still shines through her thoughtful brown eyes even though, in the safety of a loving home, she’s softened naturally into a sweet and loving family member. We don’t know how old Wiley is, but, as her muzzle has grayed, she still plays like a puppy and sprints like an athlete after beat-up tennis balls. She’s happy, but not as happy as she makes her family every day.
—Erin Parker, Outside GO
Henry and Riot
Age: 7 months
Breed: Norwegian Elkhound and Australian Shepherd
These are stepbrothers, kind of like the movie. Riot, who’s definitely the Will Ferrell character, loves to grab Henry’s tail and pull (hard), while Henry loves shearing off bits of Riot’s ear hair. They are quite the duo, and very spoiled. They love carrots, belly rubs, animated movies, sunsets, and long walks on the beach.
—Molly Doerner, Outside GO
Breed: Lab mix
“White dog bit my hand.” That’s what the delivery guy scrawled on our Sunday paper a few years back. I still don’t believe it: just look at that face! But Ruby was abandoned behind the fancy pet-food store when she was one, and it took her the next eight years to get over that. Don’t get me wrong; she’s always been slavishly devoted—OK, perhaps even clingy—and a perfect lady with people, children, and other dogs. It’s just that, from the safety of her picket fence, she expressed that devotion with gusto, barking insanely at passersby. Happy ending: Ruby discovered the perfect career two years ago, when our daughter was born. She stopped menacing the mailman, discovered her inner grandma, and now works full time as a patient (and highly supervised) nanny.
—Elizabeth Hightower Allen, Features Editor
Breed: Afghan Hound
A rescue from a hoarding breeder, Lola compensates for her difficult early life by lounging, her pink belly up, on any and all sofas; chasing small, furry things with abandon; barking at me when she wants a cookie; and digging enormous holes in my flower garden to lie in.
—Christine Salem, Strategic Planning Director
Next Up: Women Who Rip: Sierra Quitiquit